Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Don't marry who your rav tells you to

"When it comes to a marriage, not I can help you, not your father can help you, not your mother can help you, not your seichel [your intellectual faculties] can help you. The only thing that can help you is your heart. If you feel for her, go ahead. If you don't do not." Lubavitcher Rebbe

Joseph Telushkin, Rebbe: The Life and Teachings of Menachem M. Schneerson, the Most Influential Rabbi in Modern History (New York, 2014), p. 189, who quotes what the Rebbe told R. Leibel Groner

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Rav Avigdor Miller on Torah Lishma


What does it mean to learn Torah lishmah?


To learn Torah lishmah first means, like everybody knows, that you’re motivated because you want to know, “What does Hashem request of me? What does he desire of me?” That’s number one.  

But it doesn’t mean that you should merely have a good intention. You have to put in the labor because to understand what Hashem wants of you , you must have a certain achievement of the intellect.  It’s never easy to know מה ה' אלוקיך שואל מעמך.  Don’t think it’s easy to know.

That’s why when the ger came to Shamai and said, “Teach me on one foot how to become a Jew,” Shammai said, “Get out of here! On one foot you want to learn the Torah?!” 

And even when he came to Hillel and Hillel said, “Come, I’ll tell you,” Hillel didn’t really tell him.  He only said, “You have to know that if you’ll study the rule I’m giving you, that’ll be the foundation. I’m giving you a rule: ‘What you don’t want others to do to you, don’t do to others.’ Now, that’s the rule,” Hillel said, “and the rest is an explanation. ואידך פירושא – study the rule because it needs explanation; so go learn.”

So Torah lishmah requires effort.  And the more effort you put in, the more it’s lishmah.  Don’t make any mistake about it.  Lishmah doesn’t mean you learn superficially.  It has to be with the motivation to do the will of Hashem, but it must be with yegiah, with effort to learn Torah.  And every Jew who puts in effort will succeed in gaining the will of Hashem more.  Hashem’s ratzon, His favor, is upon those who seek His will; those who seek to know His will.

TAPE # 900

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Only by means of God's direction intervention

 "I looked and there was no one (among the nations) helping (the Jewish people)." Haftarah Nitzavim

"This verse teaches us that we must not make the mistake of hoping that any political, sociological, or other/natural human process per se will lead us to Redemption. The true Redemption can occur only by means of God's direction intervention, which we will elicit and hasten by fulfilling our Divine mission to make the world His home by by dissemination of Divine consciousness through prayer, the study of Torah, and the performance of the commandments. In the words of the sages of the Talmud, "We have no one to rely on save our Father in heaven."

Lubavitcher Rebbe, Hitva'aduyot 5722, Vol. 2, p. 289, Haftarah, parshas Nitzavim, Chayenu, 2019.

This is similar to this:

“When, during the reign of Hadrian, the uprising led by Bar Kochba proved a disastrous error, it became essential that the Jewish people be reminded for all times of another important fact; namely, that Israel must never again attempt to restore its national independence by its own power; it was to entrust its future as a nation solely to Divine Providence. Therefore when the nation, crushed by this new blow, had recovered its breath and hailed even the permission to give a decent burial to the hundreds of thousands who had fallen about Betar as the dawn of a better day, the sages who met at Yavneh added yet another blessing to the prayer for the restoration of Jerusalem. This fourth blessing is an acknowledgement that it has always been G-d and G-d alone Who has given us, and still gives us to this very day, that good in which we have had cause to rejoice; and that for future good, too, we may look to none other but G-d, and none besides Him." 

R' Samson Raphael Hirsch, Commentary to the Prayer Book, p. 703

Yiras Shamayim Must Be Taught

A principal of a Lubavitch school was once asked to speak at the annual convention of Torah Umesorah. When he asked the Rebbe what to address in his talk, the Rebbe responded in a note: “It is imperative that you say – in my name or not, as you see fit – that it is absolutely necessary to teach the children yiras Shamayim. “All agree that one cannot be a doctor without studying medicine, so how could they expect the children to be yerei Shamayim without teaching it? “In days bygone, this was absorbed at home, and the children saw it on the street. But times have changed. The only source for yiras Shamayim is the school, therefore it must be taught. “And giving the children 15 minutes a day to learn a mussar sefer of their choice cannot suffice at all. In fact, it sends a negative message, because the child says to himself that every other subject has a mandatory timeframe, from a specific book, and a special teacher is hired – so this topic must be inferior!” The Rebbe concluded the note, “Say this with a full breitkait (confidence), without fear, with a great tumult, with force. And Hashem will grant you success.” (Simpson Teshurah, Cheshvan 5771)